Functional Jaw Orthopedics

Functional jaw orthopedics (FJO) is a specialized process combining tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The main purpose of FJO is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish a healthy temporomandibular joint (TMJ), functional bite, and aesthetic smile that will remain stable throughout your life. Most commonly, a dentist performing FJO will treat a patient in two phases:

Phase-One Treatment

The foundation for a lifetime of beautiful smiles

The goal of Phase-One treatment is to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all of the permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. This phase of treatment is often completed at a young age, though an FJO evaluation can assess the treatment needs of adolescents and adults as well.

Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper jaw that is growing too much or is too narrow can be recognized at an early age. In many cases of severe overbites, a recessed lower jaw is the problem. If children over the age of six are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for FJO treatment. Also, if children around the age of eight have crowded front teeth, early treatment can prevent the need to extract permanent teeth later in life, or the need for surgical procedures to realign the jaws.

At the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not in their final positions. This will be determined and accomplished in the second phase of treatment.

Phase-Two Treatment

Stay healthy and look attractive

The goal of the second phase of FJO is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly.

The second phase begins when all permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires a full set of braces on the top and bottom teeth. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure the teeth stay in their new, straightened positions.

Regardless of your age, an FJO examination can evaluate your present jaw positioning, uncover potential risks on your health, and provide a treatment plan for ideal jaw health.

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